As you may know, Greek cuisine is all about seasonality. So when summer comes along, we can’t but cook with the produce of the season. Aubergines, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes are all in abundance and at their best during this time of the year. Remember our stuffed peppers with bulgur wheat, or our friend Amaryllis’ stuffed peppers with orzo?
In the spirit of Greek summer, briam is perhaps one of the most loved Greek dishes! It is very easy to make and makes use of all these delicious vegetables. As with most summer foods it is great eaten at room temperature or even cold. In the classic recipe, the vegetables are slowly cooked in the oven, along with crushed tomatoes and plenty of olive oil. The result is a mellow, delicious dish that you can keep in your fridge for when you need an easy supper or lunch. In our version of this dish, we’ve used a few sun-dried tomatoes and their oil which adds depth and flavour. You can add a bit of grape molasses too if you wish!
This dish is great with feta cheese, which we’ve added towards the end of cooking, but you can omit this if you are vegan.
2 aubergines (700g)
2 courgettes (700g)
1 green bell pepper
2 potatoes (400g)
3 cloves of garlic
20g sun-dried tomatoes (or more, to taste)
1 tbsp tomato paste in 150ml warm water
2 bottles of tomato passata or 6-8 tomatoes, crushed
150ml olive oil plus more for drizzling
Salt, pepper (to taste)
150g feta cheese
a small bunch of parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven at 180C.
Cut the aubergines, courgettes, peppers and potatoes in large bite-sized pieces. Cut the onion in half moons and finely slice the garlic. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
Place all your vegetables in a a large baking tray.
In a mug, mix together the tomato paste and warm water and stir with a spoon until the tomato paste is dissolved. Add it to your tray.
Also add the crushed tomatoes, olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix everything together. The tomatoes should just about cover your vegetables.
Cover with tinfoil and bake in the oven for an hour.
Remove the tinfoil, add the feta cheese crumbled, parsley and drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and bake for another half hour or more, until the potatoes are soft and the tomatoes have turned into a mellow sauce.
Serve with crusty bread!